Hospice East Bay is fortunate to have numerous community groups that believe in our mission and are passionate about raising funds on our behalf. One such group is the Friends of Hospice Rossmoor, led by the dynamic Trish Dickson. Every year, her organization is responsible for three significant events at Rossmoor: Tree of Lights, Art & Wine, and the newly renamed Sneakers & Paws Walk for Hospice.

In 1999, Rossmoor resident Ruth DuFosee attended a fundraiser and was inspired to do an event for Hospice East Bay. She convinced the bridge club to sponsor her event and got businesses to donate raffle prizes. The "Heart of Hospice" luncheon had 175 guests, surpassing both attendance and monetary goals.

With the success of her luncheon, Ruth began to plan more events and even more residents became interested in helping. In the sixteen years since then, this small but productive group has raised over $85,000!

In 2011, the group decided to find a new location for the Rossmoor Tree of Lights. Bob King and Colleen Wilkie suggested the beautiful oak tree at Creekside, which was secured thanks to the support of former Rossmoor CEO Warren Salmons. The tree was strung with lights, and the annual tree lighting dedications have become the most successful of the 12 tree ceremonies that Hospice East Bay oversees.

After numerous luncheons and ice cream social fundraisers, Ruth decided to hand to reins of the club to a successor in 2012. Friends of Hospice members John Lee and Barbara Phillips approached Trish Dickson to take the lead. She had used hospice services with her parents and was inspired to take on the cause. Since then, Trish has become one of our strongest advocates, and her leadership has invigorated the group to add new events and set goals to raise even more money for Hospice East Bay.

Looking to expand the Friends' range of activities, Trish began looking for a place to hold a benefit walk. She thought that the scenic Rossmoor golf course would be a beautiful place for such an event. Each year, participants can memorialize a loved one and walk in their memory.

This year, however, adds something new to the event: loved pets can now be memorialized as well as people. After a donor chose to memorialize their dog at the Tree of Lights ceremony in Rossmoor last November, Trish realized how important pets are to the community. By providing a way for residents to remember their furry loved ones, the walk will draw even more participants.

In this spirit, the Friends of Hospice renamed the walk to reflect the added focus. The 4th Annual Sneakers and Paws Walk will be held on Monday, May 16th, 2016.

When the Rossmoor Event Center opened in 2013, Trish thought that an Art & Wine event would be a great fit for the location. Rossmoor has a robust art community, yet had never hosted an Art & Wine event.

The Friends partnered with Creekside Grill to help with the food and wine procurement. Rossmoor artists jumped at the opportunity to participate. In the end, twenty-one local artists were selected to exhibit and sell their beautiful wares at the event.

The 3rd Annual Art & Wine will be on Monday, September 26th and feature exciting new wineries, delicious food and fabulous art.

It is amazing what a dedicated, passionate leader can do to make a difference in the community. Hospice East Bay is so grateful for what Trish and this wonderful group have done for our patients and their families. We will be honoring them with the Sue Bruns Award for Philanthropy at our next Celebration of Care on April 8, 2017 at Diablo Country Club.